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Car Shipping to Germany

Shipping Car to Germany from the USA

Are you interested in shipping your car to Germany? Here’s what you need to know:

  • How much does it cost? Car Shipping from the USA to Germany starts at a cost of $749 USD, and Germany levies customs duties as well as VAT (value-added tax) of 19% of the value of the vehicle (unless it is more than 30 years old).
  • How long does it take? Car shipment to Germany has an estimated turnaround time of 4-6 weeks.
  • These estimates can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, the port of origin, the final destination in Germany, and the method of shipment.

Below, we explore everything you need to know about shipping your car to Germany in our 2024 guide.

Destination Ports:
Bremerhaven | Hamburg | Antwerp | Rotterdam

Are you ready to get started shipping a car to Germany form the USA?

Request a free online quote for shipping cars – Quotes are available online with a guaranteed response within 24 hours for queries about car shipping to Germany and moving to Germany.

Please do not hesitate to call or email us anytime with any questions about car shipping services. Contact our shipping experts for more information. We are always just a phone call away!

+1 (310) 223-0474

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Want more information on car shipping to Germany from the United States?

Read on below for our US to Germany Vehicle Shipping Checklist, Vehicle Import Options, US to Germany Car Shipping Costs & Time Frame, US to Germany Vehicle Shipping Options, Ports Served in the US & Germany, and other details for shipping cars from USA to Germany.

Car Shipping to Germany Checklist

Here’s a rough breakdown of the process you’ll need to go through to ship a car to Germany.
  • Gather all necessary vehicle documentation, including:

    • Sales Contract

    • Car Registration

  • Understand the costs of shipping a vehicle, including:

    • Freight and insurance charges when shipping your vehicle

    • Wharf, transport, storage and delivery charges after your vehicle arrives

    • Duties, taxes and fees

    • Cleaning the undercarriage of foreign soil

    • Registration and insurance requirements in the relevant German State or Territory

    • Other charges such as import processing, customs brokers’, and logistics service provider charges

  • Select an international car shipping company and preferred shipping method to transport your vehicle from the United States to Germany
  • Determine your vehicle’s departure and destination ports
  • Confirm the vehicle’s undercarriage is clean and free of foreign soil

More information on the process of shipping a vehicle overseas to Germany can be found here.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

Vehicle Import Options

As you engage in the car shipping process, some of the most important questions to consider include:

  • Whether you plan to permanently keep the car in Germany or if it’s just a temporary move,
  • Whether you have been the owner of the car for at least 6 months.
  • Are you shipping a car to Germany for a holiday trip?
  • Are you moving to Germany and was the registered on your name at least six months before you ship it?
  • Do you plan to permanently bring the car to Germany?

These questions and more will determine whether you are eligible to ship your car to Germany from the USA. Your actual tax rate is based on these details.

You should never assume your scenario is the same as another one when shipping a car to Germany. Some vehicles such as used cars may have eligibility requirements that differ from those for newer vehicles for import into Germany. To obtain an estimate of the cost to ship a car to Germany, fill out our free quick quote form.

Vehicle Import Approval

Upon arrival of your vehicle shipment to Germany, the vehicle must be declared in Customs.

You’ll need the following vehicle documentation to ship a car to Germany:

  • Sales Contract / Bill of Sale
  • Registration certificate or any equivalent official document
  • The invoice, if there has been a sale

Things to Consider

  • Clients wishing to ship a vehicle to Germany need to comply with the German government’s legal and technical regulations.
  • Once your vehicle has satisfied all the necessary conditions, you will be issued a certificate by a government body authorizing you to send your vehicle to Germany.

Car Shipping to Germany Costs & Time Frame

Using a baseline of a compact car being shipped using the roll-on/roll-off method from the Port of Los Angeles to the Port of Bremerhaven, our estimate for Car Shipping from USA to Germany starts at a cost of $749 USD, with an estimated turnaround time of 4 to 6 weeks.

However, the cost to ship a car to Germany can vary according to factors such as the model and make of your motor vehicle, your current location, the nearest departure port in the USA, your shipping method of choice, availability of your chosen services, and your final destination. Additionally, you’ll need to consider costs in addition to the shipping costs such as storage, cleaning, other vendor fees, and German taxes & duties.

Taxes & Duties for Shipping Car to Germany from the USA

Prior to shipping a vehicle from US to Germany, verify your vehicle’s specifications and compliance with German requirements. The USA is not a member state of the European Union, therefore anyone shipping a car to Germany, which is an EU member state, needs to pay certain duties and taxes, such as the Import Turnover Tax.

If you are shipping a vehicle younger than 30 years to Germany from the USA, your car will be subject to local customs duties as well as a value-added tax or VAT of 19% levied by the German government on top of shipping costs. There is an exemption from the import duty in case your vehicle is in original shape and older than 30 years, your vehicle can then be considered as an old-timer, essentially what we’d refer to as a classic car or antique car in the USA. Please note that it will be the customs officers’ decision to waive the duties, we have no way to influence their decision.

However, in certain circumstances you might be able to gain exemption from paying customs duties and taxes when shipping a car to Germany.

  • If you are bringing your car or motorcycle on holiday, you only must pay a deposit upfront and will get it back when your vehicle is exported out of Germany at the end of your stay.
  • A US citizen who is moving to Germany from the USA and shipping a car when they relocate may import the car as part of their personal effects so long as they are the owner of the vehicle and have registered the vehicle on their name for at least six months before shipping. In such situations, VAT tax is not levied.
  • An EU citizen who was a resident in the USA for over a year and had registered their vehicle for over 6 months will be granted a one-time opportunity to import their car tax-free.

The amount of taxes and import duties payable when shipping a car to Germany from the US will vary and depends on the details of your motor vehicle shipment.

To obtain an estimate of the cost to ship a car to Germany, fill out our free quick quote form.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

Car Shipping to Germany Options – Methods for Shipping Cars

Car Shipping from USA to Germany can be performed using a shared container, a sole container or a roll-on/roll-off service.


Roll-On/Roll-Off – Using the RoRo shipping method to ship a car to Germany, vehicles are loaded into a vessel containing a large cargo area on an ocean freight ship that resembles a big parking garage. This option to ship a car overseas tends to be more affordable as other than shipping charges, the only charges that need to be paid are port charges and customs clearance charges.

If you decide to ship your car with this method, transits tend to be faster than with the shared container service as the containers depart on a weekly basis.


Shared Container Service –  With shared container shipping, one container will be used to transport multiple cars overseas. More fees are involved when you ship a car from the US to Germany than with the RoRo shipping method as the container will have to be processed; however, these fees are divided between the multiple vehicle owners shipping a car to Germany using the container. These fees include a terminal handling charge, a trucking charge, unloading charges for when the vehicle reaches a bonded warehouse, and standard customs clearance charges for importing a car (import duty, taxes, etc.).

One downside of shared container shipping is that shipping a vehicle overseas is only possible when there are enough vehicles to fill up the container, so there might be a wait if the requisite number has not been reached.


Full Container Load – This method to ship a car resembles the shared container service, except that each container is limited to one vehicle. Fees, which match those that must be paid for the shared container service, are similar except that they are not divided between several clients who are all shipping cars in the same freight container.

Container shipping offers a very high level of security among car shipments, making it ideal for shipping a classic car or luxury car. Upon receipt of the car, photographs will be taken of the vehicle itself and the loading process, and the container door will be locked. The car will not be accessible by anyone until arrival at the final destination when the container is opened by one of our agents. Photographs will once again be taken to document the unloading process. As the vehicle remains completely secure throughout the entire process, items can also be loaded into the vehicle and transported along with it; however, it is advisable to pack and load all items securely as we will not be liable for any loss or damage when shipping a car to Germany.

This method of shipping a car to Germany from the USA tends to be faster as there are weekly departures for shipping containers, more than are possible with the roll-on/roll-off service.

We use only a steel loading system for added protection against loss and damage, unlike other international car shipping companies that use wood ramps for shipping containers.

Additional Car Shipping Services


Sourcing Vehicles – Vehicle owners wishing to sell their cars can benefit from our comprehensive list of car buyers, who source for and buy vehicles for clients located overseas for an additional fee or commission.


Other Services – Some of the auto shipping services we offer in overseas territories include domestic pickup, vehicle import assistance, tracking of your shipment, customs clearance in the USA and a full vehicle inspection report.

Ports Served in the US and Germany

Departure Ports – United States

The location your vehicle will depart from depends on the method of car shipping to Germany, where your vehicle is located, your budget for shipping a car, and which services the nearest port offers. We have multiple departure locations we offer car shipping services from in the United States, including Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Miami, Savannah, and more.


Destination Ports – Germany

Here are the entry ports in Germany that we can ship a car to.

  • Antwerp
  • Rotterdam
  • Bremerhaven

Cleaning Your Vehicle’s Undercarriage

Before shipping your car to Germany, the undercarriage must be cleaned and free of foreign soil to prevent the introduction of invasive plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms to Germany. This can be accomplished through steam cleaning or other thorough cleaning methods.

CFR Classic can assist with finding an appropriate cleaner to help ensure you comply with this requirement to ship a car. We do not recommend washing the interior of the car as it can cause mold during transport. Vacuuming the interior is usually more than sufficient.

Plating Your Vehicle in Germany

Vehicles shipped to Germany must be registered to operate on German roads. Before you ship a car, know that all shipped vehicles to Germany must pass a safety inspection (German TÜV) before they can be registered.

In case any homologation/conversion processes need to be done to the car to get it TÜV ready we can liaise you with our shipping services partner who is sitting right in the warehouse in Bremen. This way the car doesn’t need to be transported to another location as all can be done “in-house”. With offices in both Berlin and Bremen, Germany, one of our car shipping experts at CFR Classic can assist with vehicle inspections and other arrangements to ship a car to Germany.

To obtain an estimate of the cost for car shipping from the USA to Germany and other shipping services to Germany, fill out our free quick quote form.

Car Shipping FAQs

At CFR Classic, we understand that international car shipping can be complex, and you may have questions about the process. We have compiled a list of FAQs to address some of your common questions.

Should I Use Escrow or a Secure Payment Service for Purchasing a Car Overseas?

At CFR Classic, we offer clients a secure payment protection service, CFR SafePay. While it is not technically escrow, we recommend that our clients use this service when purchasing a vehicle overseas, as CFR SafePay verifies sellers, checks vehicle titles, and ensures a secure transaction, offering peace of mind when buying a car from afar.

Imagine you are purchasing a car from a seller 4,000 miles away. For all you know, the car might not exist. The seller may not exist. With CFR SafePay, you can have confidence in your financial transactions. Our service acts as a trusted intermediary, holding the funds until all documents and verifications are complete.

Are There Special Considerations When Shipping Electric Vehicles?

As they are now considered hazardous goods due to safety concerns related to the transport of batteries, electric vehicles require a hazardous goods declaration before shipping. This will make the shipping process slightly more expensive. Some carriers may also have specific requirements or restrictions for shipping certain electric vehicle models, particularly those with a history of battery-related problems.

Furthermore, certain carriers may insist on using a “reefer” (refrigerated) container for electric vehicles to minimize the risk of overheating or fire during transport. You should be aware of these considerations and work with a reputable shipping company experienced in handling electric vehicles to ensure a smooth and safe transportation process.

Can I Ship a New Car?

Yes, CFR Classic can ship new cars internationally. However, it is essential to note that certain documents are required to clear customs. One such document is the title or the manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MSO). These documents verify the ownership and authenticity of the vehicle and are essential for the customs clearance process.

Sometimes, shipping the car using an MSO instead of the traditional title is possible. An MSO is a document that comes with the car when it is delivered from the manufacturer to the dealer, serving as the title. However, it can only be transferred once. To proceed with the shipment using the MSO, the dealer needs to sign off on the back of the document and have it notarized. Additionally, you will need a notarized bill of sale for the car and proof that the payment was made in full. Once these requirements are met, the car will be cleared through customs.

Remember that in most cases, you will need to wait for the traditional title to clear customs. So, it’s essential to plan accordingly and ensure all necessary documents are in order before shipping your new car with CFR Classic.

Can I Use Air Freight/Air Cargo for My Car Shipment? How Much More Is It?

Air freight is an option for car shipments, providing a faster alternative to ocean freight. The cost of air freight, however, can vary depending on the destination, size of the vehicle, and other factors. As an example, a rate out of Atlanta going to London might cost about $12,000 versus around $1,500 from Savannah to London in a container on a ship.

Generally, air freight is more expensive than ocean freight. Still, it offers the advantage of expedited delivery, making it an ideal choice for time-sensitive shipments or when quick transportation is crucial.

How Do Departure and Arrival Ports Affect the Cost of Shipment? Can My Agent Help Me Find the Cheapest Option?

The cost of a shipment can be influenced by several factors related to the departure and arrival ports. One significant factor is the popularity of the route, which can impact the overall cost of shipping a car internationally. The more popular the route, the cheaper the shipment will likely be. This is because popular routes often have higher volumes of shipments going to and from the destination, providing more opportunities for shipping companies to reuse containers and reduce costs.

On the other hand, less popular routes with lower shipment volumes may result in higher shipping costs. With fewer shipments to particular destinations, shipping companies may have fewer opportunities to reuse containers on outbound journeys, increasing expenses.

Is It Cheaper to Import a Car or Buy a New One Locally?

The cost-effectiveness of importing a car versus buying a new one locally depends on several factors, including taxes, duties, and homologation requirements in the destination country. In some cases, car import can be a more advantageous option, particularly for classic or antique cars. It is crucial to consider the specific regulations and financial implications of both options to determine the most cost-effective approach for your unique situation.

For instance, buying a new BMW in the U.S. may be tempting if you live in Germany, as prices are 30-40% lower. However, remember you’ll still have to pay 30% taxes once you bring the car to Germany. Additionally, you’ll need to handle the necessary homologation processes, such as changing license plates to meet German road standards.

On the other hand, if you reside in the US and plan to move to Germany with your brand-new Porsche, you can import it tax and duty-free. This exemption is applicable when you’re relocating, and you can avoid paying taxes if you keep the car for at least one year after moving.

Each country may also have tax reductions or special arrangements for importing classic or antique cars, making it a viable option for enthusiasts looking to bring unique vehicles to Germany or other overseas destinations.

Do I Need Marine Insurance?

We recommend investing in marine insurance when shipping your vehicle overseas. There are specific scenarios where this additional level of protection becomes essential. For example, many people assume that if a ship sinks due to a captain’s negligent error, they will be compensated for their cargo, but this is not always the case. A non-negotiable legal liability limit of $500 exists, which may not adequately cover the value of your vehicle in the event of damages or losses caused by the ship operator.

We advise obtaining marine insurance on top of the standard liability coverage to safeguard your vehicle and ensure comprehensive protection. This additional insurance is typically priced at 2% of the car’s value, offering peace of mind throughout the shipping process. With marine insurance, you can rest assured that your vehicle is covered in case of unforeseen incidents, providing you with the utmost security during its journey across the seas.

What is Mutual Recognition in the EU?

Mutual recognition in the EU refers to the acceptance of vehicle-type approval certificates across member states. Once a vehicle type is approved in one EU country, it can be sold and registered in any other EU country without further testing. This principle streamlines manufacturing processes, promotes market access, and benefits consumers with a broader choice of safe and compliant vehicles.

While mutual recognition eases market entry, compliance with EU regulations remains essential. At CFR Classic, we have extensive expertise in international car shipping and can assist you with navigating regulatory requirements for seamless cross-border transportation. Feel free to reach out to our team for further assistance.

Other Germany/US Shipping Options

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

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